Triangulation 😮 Narcissist Triangulation Triangulate Here’s Why

Rough Translation:

namaste everybody, Lisa a romano the breakthrough a life coach and today I
wanted to talk about narcissistic triangulation and why narcissists need
to triangulate in the first place so that we can understand and why I think
it’s important that we take some time to consider why triangulation is so huge
for narcissists is because alice is making a bunch of noise in my office
right now she’s just getting comfortable so that’s the groaning you hear Alice
anyway so it’s important that we understand that triangulation goes hand
in hand with narcissism and narcissistic rage narcissistic projection and all
that goes along with dealing with a very unhealthy personality who is extremely
shame-based and is doing everything that they possibly can to deflect from
anybody ever being able to see past the mask and they will use just about any
any tactic necessary to prevent anybody from seeing their flaws and so I just
did a video if you haven’t seen it on self-acceptance oh you might want to
check that out because kind of dovetails nicely into this idea healthy people
accept that they have flaws and they accept that they’re human and they know
that humility is part of the human experience and they learn to heal their
shame they identify that shame is is not necessary guilt can be very helpful and
that it helps us shape our behavior in the future so I know that I was a very
reactive young mom I was 23 when I had my son what did I know
and I was had very low self-esteem and I was severely codependent so really below
the veil very reactive you know just thinking if I did everything right then
everything’s gonna if I was good and I was a doormat and I took care of
everybody then life somehow would work out you know that was mixed in with a
lot of the my indoctrination from growing up as a Catholic being told that
I should worry more about others and then myself and my mother used to say to
me you should be ashamed of yourself right whenever I didn’t act accordingly
and so we we as healthy people are understanding that you know guilt can
help us shape our behavior so if I realized that I was over reactive and
very you know it was just an overreacted young mom I can feel guilt about that
about my behavior and that guilt can help me change my behavior in the future
that’s awesome but we’re learning that shame is not us
shame shame comes from the outside it’s an experience from outside it’s related
to family secrets it’s it’s related to what’s going on in our child’s at home
that we can’t work out and we feel terrified that people are going to know
that there’s mental illness in our family or our mother or father committed
suicide or our brothers on drugs or i’ont committed suicide or whatever
right so we’re so afraid of these truths that have nothing to do with us right
and many of us carry this shame so we’re healthy people are understanding like
okay shame is happened to me someone made me feel shame it’s like someone
gave you a sweater I call it the SOS the sweater of shame and as you heal and
become more above the veil you become more conscious like I can take this
fricking sweater off anytime I want to because it’s not my fault that I have
this shame nobody should shame a child and a child should never have to carry
the weight of the world on their shoulders alone there should always have
been someone there attuning themselves the child making them feel better and
helping them understand their circumstances I don’t need this sort of
shame anymore but when it comes to narcissistic personalities their shame
is so deep and they are so defensive that they deflect and they project
because they can’t get to that space of what happened to me you know they can’t
and they don’t want to they have no desire to go there right so healthy
people who have been wounded go there it hurts like hell trust me been there a
few times you know I’m still dealing with myself you know and what’s happened
but we’re all working progress right so healthy people are able to go there and
heal their shame and and recognize the shame is not made with
something that happened to me you know and as difficult as a process as it is
and anybody has ever taken my 12-week breakthrough coaching program
we’re digging you know we’re getting in there we’re just we’re scrubbing the
walls of the soul and you know we’re trying to figure out what happened and
it’s tough stuff but people who refuse to take that journey who are defensive
and and deflect all the time and project who never get to that that core of what
is at the root of their anger and their rage and their disappointment in life
right they end up staying stuck and they end up blaming people for why they feel
the way they feel so so why does a narcissist
why does try any triangulation go hand and hand with a narcissist in my humble
opinion I am a Cho in my humble opinion triangulation goes hand in hand with
narcissistic abuse because the narcissist has got to make sure they end
up on the top so if a narcissist is in a relationship with you and they do this
all wherever they go in my opinion so if a narcissist is at work right in a work
setting a narcissist can act like he is that his partner’s best friend but
behind his partner’s back you know he’s talking about the partner in the break
room you know Ralph is a nice guy but you know he had a nervous breakdown
about you know six years ago yeah you know his poor wife you know he’s a
handful I mean on the surface he looks like a
great guy he’s so easy to deal with but you know the reality is he’s got so many
problems and you know you know I’m doing my best to like you know drag him along
like you know keep him going and you know I’m gonna take him out next Friday
and make sure that you know you know he’s okay meanwhile Ralph is fine
Ralph’s a hundred percent fine routes 110% fine Ralph has no issues whatsoever
but let’s say the narcissist name is Mark you know mark is making sure that
if there’s ever a fall with Ralph that mark ends up on the top
that people like oh my god poor mark because he has to he has to make a claim
against you right he’s building up a case against you or building up a case
against Ralph in the in the event that there is an issue he cut mark ends up
looking like he’s the guy on top so narcissists are always collecting flying
monkeys whether we know it or we don’t but it is a very common common trait you
have let’s say you’re married to a narcissist and you know behind your back
he’s calling his family and he’s he’s talking to his friends he’s even calling
your friends he’s my ex-husband did this my ex-husband called my friends called
my mother hung out with my brother talked to my father and in one breath
was saying to him your daughter’s like she could have been a rocket scientist
she’s amazing there’s nothing that could have could have held her back but to me
he was calling me name saying that I was a flake saying that I was crazy saying
things like even your mother thinks you’re crazy which means you had a
conversation with my mother about me behind my back which means you pulled
her into our life and into our conversation right or just into our
experience triangulation so this is a very common thread and it’s amazing when
you see it right you know they have to triangulate because they’re concerned
that if anything they’re always thinking ahead whether it’s on whether it’s
conscious or unconscious they’re always making claims against our the people so
that they always look like the victim so in my humble opinion narcissistic
triangulation is the norm narcissists are always collecting flying monkeys and
it doesn’t matter if it’s at work it doesn’t matter if it’s in the doctor’s
office it doesn’t matter if it’s in a relationship with a friend or
relationship with a spouse their agenda is to make sure that they look like the
victim very very important and we have to be prepared because
and this is what happens to us like in my case you know I was the codependent
and I never went to my family about my ex-husband because I wanted them to see
him as a nice guy you know I wanted to make them proud
you know I also knew that if I went to my parents and told them I think to sum
up with this guy they wouldn’t have believed me because
he spent so much time convincing them that he was awesome and because I was so
codependent and I was worried about not looking perfect and I was worried about
being judged for being unhappy I was taught that I wasn’t allowed to be
unhappy and how dare you you’re selfish for being unhappy I never told anybody
about my ex-husband I kept it to myself so I was not collecting flying monkeys I
wasn’t triangulating and then what happens when the roof blows off and the
floor gets pulled out from underneath you you go to talk to your friends and
lo and behold you discover that your husband or your boyfriend or your
girlfriend has been talking to them about you the entire time and so when
you go for support nobody believes you nobody understands you and when the
smear campaign starts you feel like you swallowed a grenade like what just
happened you review the agenda is to stay above you and right so I can’t have
an open conversation with you I have to stay above you right and I don’t know I
don’t want to resolve this with you because I am the victim and I want to
make sure that I remain the victim so I have to stay above you so that’s also
another another key idea to keep in mind and that’s why narcissism involves
triangulation and that’s why when relationships end there is there are
smear campaigns because it’s been happening when you didn’t even realize
it was happening behind your back there was a collection of smear complaining
monkeys there was this collection of things happening that you weren’t even
aware of and you know we have to if if we have been woken up in a relationship
with the narcissist you know we realize we’ve been in a relation
with the narcissist you know unfortunately we have to expect that the
smear campaign is an inevitable aspect of ending that relationship because they
can’t just go away they can’t just end the relationship
they can’t just ride off into the sunset and start another relationship and say
wow what did that past relationship teach me know narcissists must destroy
you they are aggressive they are hell-bent on destruction and the more
you come at them the more they’re gonna try to annihilate you right angry stuck
below the veil of consciousness reactive and totally believe they are the victim
and so when you take all of this into consideration you will take into
consideration the shame that they’re trying to run from right and how anger
sometimes can prevent can make them feel safe right so if I make you the bad guy
I never have to look at me and if you’re the bad guy and you’re crazy
then whatever wisdom comes out of your mouth possibly I can deflect because
you’re crazy and you’re no good and so I never have to let what you have to have
you have to say penetrate my soul and crack the mask so then I never have to
deal with the tremendous shame that’s inside of me
so sometimes anger and rage is like a shield and that prevents narcissists
from actually able being able to actually deal with their shame and then
if you understand that they must remain the victim then you also have to you
also can understand why they triangulate and what the purpose is of it and the
reason I like to do these types of videos is because once you understand
the the agenda once you understand the mechanics once you once you understand
why a narcissistic personality would take this on then it’s easier for us to
step step away from it you know it’s really really mind-blowing when you find
yourself in a relationship with the narcissist that you’ve cared about and
the relationship has ended and you just go to work the next day minding your own
business like wow it sucks you know I can’t believe this person was this
person like you know I love this purse you know and but you’re going you mind
your own business you’re going about life and taking care of yourself and
doing your Epsom salt baths or whatever you know hold it onto your crystals
going for some Reiki whatever floats your boat and then BAM out of nowhere
you get hit upside your head with some news of a smear campaign minding your
own business and here comes the smear campaign or you decide to meet up with
some girlfriends and talk about why you broke up and you know by the look on her
face she’s like that’s not what I heard what do you mean is that what you heard
and then you find out that your husband and your boyfriend or whatever has been
talking to your girlfriend the whole time that you’ve been with them right it
is devastating and it can make you feel so alone and I can tell you as someone
who has been accused of so many different things by my ex-husband and
his family and even some friends I can tell you that it makes you feel like you
have you are three months old you know you have been dropped off in the middle
of the Brooklyn Bridge and they’re attractive trailers coming at you you
know the helicopters with machine guns hovering over and it’s dark you know
it’s not gonna rain and you’re this 3-month little old baby on this bridge
and oh my god you know it makes you feel so powerless and so helpless and like
the world is coming to an end but hold on and know that the more you hold onto
yourself in the less attention you give this situation you are pulling your
energy from it remember what we focus on grows right and so imagine that this
isn’t an energetic ball his energy or her smear campaign whatever it is is an
energetic ball and your job is to pull as much energy and drain as much energy
from it as possible so that it can dissipate and shrink so the less
attention you give it don’t look on Facebook don’t talk to the friends
who’ve been pulled in you don’t have conversations about what’s going on
deliberately pull your attention from it in the meantime up your self-care very
very important and so dodging it with namaste namaste and also know you know I
also teach your Law of Attraction class and
this question always comes up like I thought I was doing better how could I
have tracked this into my life and you know I’ve done so much healing work how
could this happen to me again you know and then they start to feel bad
sometimes members feel bad that this has shown up right that this abusive
relationship has shown up with this conversation has shown up and I thought
I was doing so much better so just a little bit about that what is within us
that needs to be healed will eventually come to the surface and when it comes to
a certain comes to the surface that’s a that’s our opportunity to heal it so
that we can move forward so we’re always trying to I think anyway in my humble
opinion iMHO I think what we’re trying to do is
evolve and to leave old paradigms behind so that we can create new paradigms and
move and accelerate forward on our spiritual journey and so while something
is still active inside of us it could be the fear of what other people think
about us it could be leftover shame from childhood right it could be a pattern in
ourselves the I know for me after I got divorced I attracted three narcissistic
relationships one was worse than the other and these were criminals hello I
didn’t know that I eventually figured that out but seriously this was serious
stuff and what I had to look at was I was the common denominator so what was
coming up from me right what was coming up for me was eventually I realized I
was ignoring some red flags that my inner guidance was was sending me
signals and I was saying no I was rationalizing them away and so that’s
why after the last relationship I was like I’m not ignoring red flags anymore
because what I do hell breaks loose and so that’s what I came that’s that’s what
I attracted into my life because I want truth and I want growth and so here I am
asking for growth and when you ask for growth you will be presented with what
needs to shift and as long as we stay clear as to the goal for our humanity or
for our souls journey as long as we understand we’re here to transcend the
old and we don’t freak out what it shows when it shows itself like when we find
out someone stole money from us so we find out someone’s lied to us it’s been
it’s it’s now part of our experience because it’s sort of like a layer of
skin that’s now at the surface that we need to slough off right and that’s an
awesome thing so try not to get caught up thinking that because it’s in our
experience it’s a bad thing because time and time again
I mean I’ve coached probably thousands of people personally as well as through
my coaching programs and what is showing up is this idea that every time a
conflict is resolved abundance shows up whether it’s abundance of light energy
or abundance of healing energy so don’t allow the linear brain good bad up down
left right Democrat Republican fool you into thinking or believing in this
illusion that this is a bad thing if something’s showing up in your
experience is painful that’s a good thing because it’s an opportunity to
heal it and to shift and to become a more abundant light activated body being
person soul person so it’s all good as long as we don’t allow our minds to tell
us that it’s not good and so there are definitely tools that we can use on the
road as we’re learning to heal ourselves and here our lives like the 1 2 3
process you can look up look up the 1 2 3 process on my channel there are so
many tools that we can use so you can also check out codependent now what it’s
naughty what you’re programming I have a ton of resources and a ton of life
skills that you can use to help you manage when chaos comes up so I hope
that this this video has helped you understand why trying why narcissists
triangulate and what you can do to get out of get out of a head of it if you
find yourself in the middle of it and how important it is to just remove your
energy from it and just just let them just let them burn out because I mean
when you ignore a narcissist like that makes them crazy when you set a boundary
that makes them nuts like they they can’t handle it right and so what will
happen is they won’t be able to contain the
narcissistic rage and I know that sounds crazy but hear me as long as you do what
you can to maintain your energy and you just allow this little Tasmanian devil
to spin out what’s gonna happen is the flying monkeys you know family members
your friends whatever they’re gonna start to see what’s really behind the
mask which is destruction which is annihilation which is the opposite of
love and letting go and abundance right and so try to keep this in mind the next
time you’re dealing with this or if you’re dealing with this and know that
ultimate self care ultimate self empathy can definitely ease the pain of having
to survive a narcissistic smear campaign you’re not alone I’ve survived one or
two in my life so know that you’re in good company and everything’s gonna be
fine just love yourself because you are enough now I must say I bow to the love
and the light that is absolutely in you and for anyone who’s interested in my
membership site you can check it out at HTTPS dot dot slash slash Lisa – a dash
Romano dot Micah jabra.com I have a bunch of programs and video lessons and
audio lessons and meditations and downloadable files including a copy of
the road back to me and some of my best-selling programs not the 12-week
and not the master class but other programs are actually in the in the
membership site as well and so just check it out and let me know what you
think bye for now

Why the Narcissist Seems to Hate You, But Won’t Let You Go

Rough Transcript:

the sad truth about why the narcissist
seems to hate you but won’t let you go
easily being the target of narcissistic
hatred is the most confusing experience
you’ll have in your life
it’s wrought with ironies opposites and
sleight of hand just when you think
you’ve come out of the nightmare you
wake up in the middle of another one and
there doesn’t seem to be any relief in
sight
it’s absolutely soul-shattering to give
your all to the narcissist and feel like
you’ve finally made some progress in
getting through to them only for them to
smack you down with the most hateful
scathing episode to date it’s as though
they truly hate you down to the core of
your soul as if they can barely stand to
be in the same room with you or
breathing the same air as you and they
probably have told you this in so many
words but you’ve been so traumatized by
the sheer spite in their voice during
these episodes you have a hard time
remembering everything they’ve said the
irony is that just when things seem to
be truly over and you’ve accepted in
your heart and soul that it’s time to
move on and narcissus changes back to
being seemingly nice perhaps even
affectionate it’s so utterly confusing
why do they do this are they a tortured
soul who is so wounded they just can’t
help it is there anything at all you can
do to speak to the wounded inner self
the narcissist appears to hide buried
deep within them as a person who loves
the narcissist it’s usually easier to
believe they have no control over these
conflicting behaviors we can identify
with what we believe is their inner pain
but this is a story we tell ourselves a
story that keeps us in meshed with them
in a tempestuous cycle of insane highs
and lows that ultimately depletes us of
our very soul there is a reason they do
this but it’s hard to digest sometimes
though we need the truth because it’s
the one thing that can finally set us
free this
sad truth about narcissistic hatred the
reason you found yourself the target of
narcissistic hatred is that they view
love as a weakness and consequently it
repulses them but at the same time it
allows them to extract copious amounts
of narcissistic supply this is why they
seem to hate you but won’t let you go
easily
the narcissist views you as a feeble
underling one which provides them with
wonderful supply so though they couldn’t
care less about you as a person they
don’t want to give up the fringe
benefits that go along with engaging in
a relationship with you albeit a
torturous one they won’t let you go
because you are providing them with the
things they need to survive as a
narcissist these things may consist of
money
housekeeping taking over the
responsibility for their adult
obligations cleaning up their many
messes staying with them while they
carry on Affairs and providing them with
a convenient receptacle for when they
need to vent all their pent-up negative
energies and rage onto someone therefore
it does no good for you to show your
vulnerability to the narcissist and
further why they seem to dislike you
even more when you show your very human
emotions they want the benefits without
all the damage control they want you to
just be quiet about it all and go back
to the person you were before you
discovered who they really are this is
why when you try to make them see how
they’re hurting you it’s utterly
pointless
in fact it’s during these moments you
see into the true core of the narcissist
personality and it’s chilling
nonetheless in your mind you love them
and have bonded with them and so you try
to humanize them believing they must
think and feel the same way you do but
just have a hard time showing it this is
not the case
they are nothing like you and no amount
of unconditional love will change this
fact when we insist on believing the
narcissist is like us we are creating a
story in our minds writing the
screenplay as we go along thinking that
with enough love and compassion we will
finally break through to the narcissist
wound itself this will never happen and
it’s important to accept this painful
truth narcissus loved to blame other
people for their nasty behaviors in turn
you may respond by being more supportive
understanding kind or compromising in an
effort to persuade the narcissus to halt
their betrayals and cruelties instead
what happens is patterns of deception
and denial are established this may be
to avoid the narcissists wrath or keep
the peace proving to the narcissist
you’re not the crazy psycho they say you
are but underneath the surface is a
budding system of enabling a system the
narcissist fabricates from the very
start the truth about when things seem
normal it’s vital to understand that
when the narcissist is being nice it’s
an integrated part of the abuse a reward
if you will for sweeping their last
attack under the rug and going back to
your agreeable self the one who will
smile at them while they carry on with
their normal deplorable behaviors as
though everything is on the up and up
additionally they understand that if
they give you a glimpse of the person
they pretended to be when you first met
he’ll do everything in your power to
keep the golden illusion alive the
illusion that things can be like they
were before this is how trauma bonds
become stronger over time if you go
along with this Mirage you’ll be like a
legendary solitary traveler who believes
they found water in the desert only to
find they’ve traveled deeper into the
middle of nowhere with nothing around
them to sustain life if you found this
video helpful hit subscribe share it
with your friends and leave your
comments in the section below and if
you’re tired of being the target of
narcissistic hatred don’t forget to grab
your beginners
sealing toolkit in the description box
below

Five Types of High-Conflict Personalities

High-conflict personalities are fundamentally adversarial personalities. They don’t see their part in their own problems and instead are preoccupied with blaming others—possibly you. In this blog series, I offer many tips for dealing with high-conflict people (HCPs). Today, I describe the basic features of 5 types of high-conflict personalities, so that you can be aware of them, in order to avoid them or deal with them more effectively.

They all have the basic HCP pattern of:

1) Targets of Blame,

2) a lot of all-or-nothing thinking,

3) unmanaged emotions and

4) extreme behaviors.

In addition, they also have traits of 5 personality disorders. Some may just have traits and others have a full disorder. This can make them very difficult, but also more predictable. Here is a very brief overview of some of their common patterns of behavior:

1. Antisocial HCPs: These are also known as sociopaths or psychopathsaggressive people without a conscience. Antisocial personalities can be extremely charming and deceptive, combined with being extremely cruel to get what they want. Antisocial HCPs blame their Targets for causing their many frustrations, interfering with their schemes or simply because they got in the way. They are con artists, often involved in criminal schemes and loyal to no one—not even each other. (This does not include people who just “don’t feel social” this weekend.)

They punish their Targets in relationships and then expect sex and affection even after hurting them. They seem to be more biologically energized to harm people without remorse. For example, the Texas shooter in yesterday’s mass church shooting was reportedly angry at his estranged wife’s parents, and so went to kill everyone at the church they attended. Would he fit here?

2. Narcissistic HCPs: Most people are familiar with the self-absorption of narcissistic personalities, but narcissistic HCPs focus intensely on their Targets of Blame. They are constantly putting them down, often in public, in an effort to prove they are superior beings. They use a lot of insults with their partners, yet at the same time they demand admiration and affection. They claim their behavior is justified because others treat them so unfairly. Yet they have no real empathy for their Targets of Blame or anyone else. In the workplace, they are known for “kicking down” (on those below them) and “kissing up” (to those above them), so that management won’t realize how bad they really are. Bullying and sexual harassment may fit right into their drive for power and superiority.

3. Borderline HCPs: They are preoccupied with their close relationships and cling to them. However, sooner or later they will treat their partners, children, parents, co-workers, bosses, and others as Targets of Blame for any perceived abandonment. Their rages can be quite dangerous: physically, emotionally, legally, financially, reputationally or otherwise. Yet their moods swing both ways, so you may feel whip-sawed by how quickly they go from friendly to rage to friendly again (and then rage again).

As a therapist and lawyer, I have seen many borderline HCPs fighting for custody in family court against their Targets of Blame with extreme behavior including domestic violence, child alienation and/or false allegations. They are both men and women, driven to cling to their children (and each other) to avoid feelings of abandonment.

4. Paranoid HCPs: They can be suspicious of everyone around them, and believe there are conspiracies to block their careers at work, their friendships and their family relationships. They can carry grudges for years, and then punish their Targets of Blame. Paranoid HCPs may believe that those around them are about to harm them, so they may pre-emptively attack their Targets. They easily feel treated unjustly and in the workplace, some experts say “the majority of lawsuits are filed by this type of coworker.” (Cavaiola & Lavender, 2000)

5. Histrionic HCPs: This personality is most often associated with drama and endless emotional stories. Yet histrionic HCPs often accuse their Targets of Blame of exaggerated or fabricated behavior, to hurt them or to manipulate them. They assume relationships are deeper than they are so that they are constantly feeling surprised and hurt by how others react to them. They demand to be the center of attention and attack their Targets of Blame when they are not. They often involve others in their many complaints, which can lead to public accusations and humiliation for their Targets of Blame.

Overview: None of these HCP personality patterns have anything to do with intelligence, as they range from super smart to not very smart at all, like the rest of the population. There are some personality disorders in every occupation, geographic region (although slightly more in urban areas) and income group (although lower income has slightly more, the higher income ones can attract more attention).

It’s important to note that many people with personality disorders are not HCPs, which means that they do not have Targets of Blame who they attack or purposely injure. But if you see someone with a high-conflict personality, the fact that they also have traits of a personality disorder means that they are unlikely to have insight into their own behavior and unlikely to change. This means that you should be careful to avoid the mistakes I mentioned in my last blog. You also may want to consider using the methods I describe in the coming weeks.

 

Narcissism and Its Discontents | Ramani Durvasula | TEDxSedona

Narcissism has not only become a normalized social condition, it is increasingly being incentivized. The framework of narcissism with the central pillars of lack of empathy, entitlement, grandiosity, superficiality, anger, rage, arrogance, and shallow emotion is a manifestation of pathological insecurity – an insecurity that is experienced at both the individual and societal level. The paradox is that we value these patterns – and venerate them through social media, mainstream media, and consumerism, they represent a fast-track to financial and professional success. These traits are endemic in political, corporate, academic, and media leaders. There are few lives which are not personally touched by narcissists – be it your spouse, partner, parent, child, colleague, boss, friend, sibling, or neighbor. Whether societally or individually, the toxic wave of narcissism, entitlement, and pathological insecurity is harming us all. The enticements of charm, charisma, confidence, and success can draw us in or blind us to the damaging truths of narcissism. The invalidation inherent in these relationships infects those are in them with self-doubt, despair, confusion, anxiety, depression and the chronic feeling of being “not enough,” all of which make it so difficult to step away and set boundaries. The illusion of hope and the fantasy of redemption can result in years of second chances for narcissists, and despondency when change never comes. It’s time for a wake-up call. Health and wellness campaigns preach avoidance of unhealthy foods, sedentary lifestyles, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, but rarely preach avoidance of unhealthy or toxic people. Yet the health benefits of removing toxic people from a life may have a far greater benefit to both physical and psychological health than going to the gym. We need to learn to be better gatekeepers for our minds, bodies, and souls. Instead of habituating to the global shift of validating narcissism and other toxic patterns, it’s time to understand it and take our lives back. Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks, CA and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, where she was named Outstanding Professor in 2012. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

today I am going to talk about the most
overused misunderstood problematic words
of our time a phenomenon a word that is
shaping all of our destinies that word
is narcissism narcissism is a word that
is being used to understand bad behavior
everywhere in national leaders in heads
of state heads of corporations fancy
academic types athletes celebrities we
actually no longer recoil at their
grandiosity their entitlement and their
incivility in fact too many people award
them grudging admiration for their
successes and that grants permission to
everyone to replicate these abusive
patterns of behavior with impunity now
things got confusing when people started
using narcissism as a clinical term it
became a way of medicalizing bad
behavior it’s actually not a diagnostic
term narcissistic personality disorder
is a diagnosis but it’s pretty rare
because these folks don’t show up to be
diagnosed anyhow so narcissism is in
fact a personality pattern it’s a sort
of way of relating to the world it’s an
adjective to describe their style much
like you could describe someone as
agreeable or stubborn or introverted
some of these patterns are valued by
society and others aren’t and the fact
is most people don’t receive being
called narcissistic as a compliment it’s
just however a descriptive term and no
matter how much we turn our noses up at
it paradoxically as a society we reward
it dr. Alan Francis was one of the
architects of the diagnosis of
narcissistic personality disorder and he
argues that we actually give badly
behaved jerks and out when we call it a
diagnosis if a person is a jerk then
they’re a jerk disliking a pattern of
behavior doesn’t make it a mental
illness that so-called jerk has to be
experiencing problems in their lives
and for their narcissism to actually be
considered a diagnosis
so if we were to cobble together all the
various things that make up narcissism
we land on a very uncomfortable summit
narcissism is comprised of certain
pillars as I call them

  • lack of empathy
  • grandiosity
  • entitlement
  • superficiality
    admiration and
  • validation seeking
  • hypersensitivity rage and a
  • tendency to manipulate and exploit people

it’s confusing because they’re simultaneously
under responsive they tend to be
emotionally aloof cold and distant but
then they’re hyper responsive they have
hair-trigger temper that set off like
that when their fragile egos get
threatened so narcissism however I
believe is synonymous with pathological
insecurity the key to understanding the
narcissist is that they feel constantly
unstable and empty their grandiosity is
actually an immature defense against
these threats to them their sense of
self and they’re desperate for the world
to keep validating them on their good
days they look happy they’re great
they’re grandiose but on the bad days
the facade crumbles quickly and we see
disproportionate rage shame and
vindictiveness I became interested in
narcissism through a couple of different
pathways but the most striking was the
fact that more and more clients were
coming into my office and talking about
relationships in which their partners
treated them with utter disregard
indifference coldness they lacked
empathy they would question their
reality they would lie to them at times
they were unfaithful they were
inconsistent and no matter what they
tried with their partner it didn’t get
better at the same time I started
working with more narcissistic clients
and would you know nothing we tried
really made things better in fact they
just remain difficult people and I don’t
think I’m not bad a therapist so it was
clear that these relationships were
being kept in place simultaneously by
hope and fear hope that someday it would
get better if they kept trying harder
but fear that if they left these
relationships they would be alone
forever without
partner or even without a mother and
some of them had the fear that maybe
this is as good as it gets the world has
become more insecure and the reasons for
that are varied galip’s annual global
emotions report said that in 2017 was
the most miserable in about a decade the
report indicated that sadness anger
worry stress and physical pain were more
frequently endorsed last year than in
the ten years prior
now Gallup speculated on a variety of
reasons for this but let’s pitfall for a
minute could it be that this increase in
misery could reflect the increase in
insecurity incivility and tolerance of
narcissism our world supports the
increasing insecurity in our world and
the platforms that capitalize on it such
as consumerism have created optimal
fertile ground for narcissism to
incubate and proliferate when human
value is driven entirely by external
incentives such as success then
qualities such as empathy do not have a
fighting chance because we no longer
value them and they’re no longer
valuable so why do we get pulled into
these relationships
we’re not flocking to narcissism because
we love emotional coldness or
invalidation or shallow people
we’re drawn in because narcissism is
seductive I call it the three C’s of narcissism

  1. charm
  2. charisma and
  3. confidence

that’s not to say that all charming and
charismatic people are narcissistic
however we do know that these traits are
so seductive that we get drawn in and
they can blind us to the more venomous
characteristics that are unfolding at
the same time such as entitlement
vindictiveness or lack of empathy so
then once a person is in a relationship
and it’s uncomfortable and is painful
why would they stay with a narcissist
all of us are vulnerable to those
narcissistic charms and in fact we may
be rendered even more vulnerable to
sticking around for the abuse by a
narcissist if we originated from family
systems in which the patterns of
narcissism were normalized such as
having a cold authoritarian
distant invalidating or abusive parents
our own insecurities render us
vulnerable and also less able to climb
out when the climate shifts from charm
and charisma to invalidation and abuse
most of us are great at giving second
chances and second chances are in fact
the accelerant for narcissism at all
levels when we are in a narcissistic
relationship we make excuses that’s just
how he is he didn’t really mean that she
means well ah that’s just her culture
and there’s the rub that’s how this
infectious virus of being in any form of
narcissistic relationship whether with
an individual or a family or a company
or a culture can slowly proliferate and
take over most of us issue second
chances with zeal our storytelling in
our culture is immersed in tales of hope
redemption and forgiveness and while
that’s all very healthy in the wrong
hands hope and forgiveness may not
represent an opportunity for growth or
change or restoration but rather
permission to just keep things going as
they are because with narcissists
forgiveness is interpreted as hey let’s
just keep the status quo have we created
a world in which narcissism as a pattern
as a personality is becoming necessary
to succeed in the new world order this
is where we hit a bit of a problematic
divide the very qualities associated
with material success are actually bad
for our health because while these
qualities may be festered and fostered
by our cultures and our schools and our
economies and our societies they are
never going to be good for our close
relationships and that doesn’t just mean
spouses and partners that means parents
children siblings extended family
friends colleagues narcissistic patterns
undercut the core of what’s necessary
for healthy relationships those things
include mutuality respect compassion
patience genuineness honesty and trust
things that are simply not possible with
the system or a person which is
narcissistic and it’s in that intimate
relationship space where we see the most
profound impacts of a narcissist what
did that be a spouse or a partner a
relationship with a narcissist is a
gradual indoctrination you slowly become
inured to their lack of empathy though
Tantrums their rage their insults and
their entitlement their lies and their
challenges to your reality they’re
insulting words slowly become your
self-talk and before you know it your
new mantra becomes I am not enough
anyone who’s had a narcissistic parent
will acknowledge that it shaped the arc
of their lives it instilled an
insecurity in a chronic jousting at
psychological windmills from an early
age narcissistic parents leave a legacy
including an inability to trust your own
instincts to safely enter close
relationships to trust your own
abilities and a lifetime can be spent
trying to gain the notice of the aloof
detached and disconnected parent the
proliferation of narcissism and
leadership in our culture governments
companies and world has made very
difficult workplaces the narcissistic
boss is the insecure tyrant
these are workplaces ruled by fear and
subterfuge abuse and vindictiveness
deceit and slippery ethics and in the
face of the me2 movement the top notes
of narcissism pervaded all of the
stories the entitled and untouchable
tyrant pillaging the workforce and in
most case with almost no consequences
the most painful realization is that
narcissistic patterns are just not that
amenable to change at a minimum for any
change to occur the narcissus has to
recognize the harmful pattern of their
behavior then they have to want to
change it and then they have to put in
the daily work of change there is a
small number of cases where that kind of
happened but under conditions of stress
and frustration the usual issues of Rage
will pop up the rubberband of
personality returns to its usual shape
and size
the small changes that could be made may
not be enough to make a close intimate
relationship sustainable and if somebody
is not willing to recognize that they
need to make changes because they’re
hurting other people there’s little
likelihood they will make a change but
there is a likelihood they will continue
to blame other people the world or you
for their bad behavior so that means
that the only remaining strategies are
to maintain your expectations and set
boundaries not to try to change that
person or waste hope on the possibility
of change but to recognize that this is
how it is and either accept it or slowly
step away from it now this is very
individual and it’s not always possible
if it’s your parents or your child who’s
narcissistic you may not be willing to
sever that tie finances culture children
or love can make walking away from a
marriage or a romantic relationship
seemingly impossible and that’s fine but
managing expectations on this pattern
can protect you from the downstream
effects of this ongoing abuse and allow
you to construct a more realistic
reality sadly most of us put 90 percent
of our hearts minds and souls into our
most dysfunctional unhealthy
invalidating relationships and save the
little bit that’s left for the people
who are good and kind to us it’s time we
flip this skewed calculus and start
giving the best of ourselves to our
healthy and reciprocal relationships and
really only give the bare minimum to the
relationships that really aren’t helping
us grow perhaps that’s a healthier way
of negotiating these treacherous waters
of narcissism without losing ourselves
in the depths of self-doubt and
self-criticism now this can be extended
to our thinking about the world at large
it can be small fixes such as turning
off the polarizing discourses we hear
and learning to measure our self-worth
and the worth of others with new metrics
of success

  • authenticity
  • compassion
  • kindness
  • and empathy

we can learn to
tend to our own gardens and not get
pulled into hostile interactions that
benefit no one so this begs a question
can there be happy endings or
narcissistic or
tagging istic personalities and cultures
are concerned I actually think there can
be the greatest challenge about happy
endings in real life is that they rarely
look like the ones we crafted when we’re
young and it’s easy to get stuck in our
own old narratives people who come from
narcissistic families may feel as though
they missed out on having a parent who
is an ally or a supporter even as they
go into adulthood people who married
narcissistic partners may find
themselves mired in a nightmare of
emotional abuse or simply finding that
they’re actually alone despite being
married few people write stories of
their lives that build in disappointment
I have found that survivors of all kinds
of narcissistic and antagonistic
relationships actually can and do have
happy endings they just don’t look like
they thought all of us are bigger than
this epidemic of narcissism any of us
can change that you are not enough
narrative that still resonates we can
repair it ourselves we can look at the
entitled shenanigans of people who
shriek don’t you know who I am and
realize that you don’t give a damn about
who they are where there are scars
beautiful things actually can spring
forth
khalil gibran writes out of suffering
have emerged the strongest Souls the
most massive characters are seared with
scars yes the world is in fact becoming
more narcissistic and insecure
don’t let the global epidemic of
incivility infect you inoculate yourself
find your communities find common ground
with other people instead of living in
polarization practice kindness and
empathy even when other people are not
choose your friends and your romances
with care every life story can be a
miracle or a tragedy it just depends on
how you write it
these days with the world in such
disarray anyone who is surviving with
their empathy unbroken their hearts
sound their integrity in place and
theirs
sense of humor intact is nothing short
of dauntless pushing back on narcissism
is a human rights issue all of us need
to stop giving permission to narcissism
and narcissists and start taking our
lives our souls and our world back thank you